‘Laverne & Shirley’ and ‘Twin Peaks’ actor David Lander has died

The actor had been battling multiple sclerosis for over 30 years

David Lander, best known for his role as Squiggy in American sitcom Laverne & Shirley, has died aged 73.

His death was confirmed to Variety by his family, who said the actor died on Friday night (December 4) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Lander’s cause of death was due to complications related to multiple sclerosis, which he had been battling for 37 years. He went public with his diagnosis in 1999, after which he worked closely with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, speaking at a number of related conferences.

The actor will be remembered most for starring as Squiggy in Laverne & Shirley, opposite longtime friend Michael McKean, who portrayed Lenny in the sitcom. The pair developed the characters while they were students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Reacting to the news of Lander’s death, McKean took to Twitter on Saturday (December 5) to share an old photo of the pair together.

David Leonard Landau was born on June 22, 1947 in Brooklyn, New York. Growing up, he always knew he wanted to be an actor, attending the High School for the Performing Arts. After teaming up with McKean in college, the duo moved to Los Angeles, where they joined the comedy ensemble, The Credibility Gap.

Building an early career alongside McKean, Lander starred in Steven Spielberg’s comedy film 1941 (1979) and Kurt Russell’s Used Cars (1980). The pair later voiced animated TV series Oswald, in which they played penguins Henry and Louie, respectively.

In addition to Laverne & Shirley, some of Lander’s most memorable TV roles include The Bob Newhart Show, Happy Days, Twin Peaks and The Drew Carey Show. He also had small parts in movies like A League of Their Own and Say It Isn’t So.

As a voice actor, Lander was the voice behind Smart Ass in the 1988 Disney movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He also lent his voice talents to the animated movies The Iron Giant, A Bug’s Life, Tom And Jerry: The Movie, SpongeBob SquarePants, and 2009’s Green Lantern: First Fight.

Lander most recently voiced Rumpelstiltskin in Disney’s children’s show Goldie & Bear in 2017.

Together with McKean, Lander also released an album in 1979 under the moniker Lenny and the Squigtones. Released via the Casablanca Records, the 15-track project heard the pair perform parodies of 50s rock ballads.

The album is noted for featuring Christopher Guest on guitar, who was credited as Nigel Tufnel – an alias that he later reused in the fictional band Spinal Tap. The band also included “Murph”, the keyboard player from The Blues Brothers, and Don Poncher as “Ming the Merciless”.

A number of tributes for the actor have poured in on social media – see them below.

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